Thursday, February 24, 2011


Sooo.... I know it is almost March, but we have been working hard on our penguin unit this week! Better late than never, right?! The kids are having a blast with it and they are learning so much! I love seeing how engaged they are :)

My faaabulous student teacher subbed for me at the beginning of the week, so I missed our first day of the unit, but she did an AWESOME job! To begin the week, the kids brainstormed what they THOUGHT they knew about penguins. And boy, did they already know a lot!

(I borrowed this cute idea from The First Grade Parade).
 **We have not completed "Our New Learning" yet-we will tomorrow! :)**

We read Cinderella Penguin for two days this week. We learned some new vocabulary and made Venn Diagrams comparing it with the classic version of Cinderella. We have really been focusing on reading nonfiction books this week, and the kids are so into it!

We learned that Rockhopper Penguins lay 3 eggs each year and that Adelie Penguins lay 2 eggs each year. So, I had the kids write story problems and illustrate how many eggs one of those penguins would lay in X amount of years. Great practice for repeated addition/multiplication :)

Before reading one of our nonfiction books (National Geographic for Kids: Penguins!), I gave each child a notecard. I wrote the word "regurgitate" on the board and asked them to write what they thought it meant. They had a hard time figuring it out at first when the word was isolated. Once I put it into a sentence, many of them had an A-HA moment (great mini lesson on context clues!). We all came to the carpet and I read their responses (some were so creative!). Then we read the book, and I told them to pay close attention and see if we could find out what our new vocabulary word meant. And sure enough, we found out (photo and all!) Their reactions were great!

We spent a lot of time on new vocabulary this week. I happened to have this great penguin vocabulary activity that turns out so cute! I wrote 8 vocabulary words on the board that we needed to learn the meanings of (some we had already learned in other books we had read). Then we read Penguin Chick. As we came across those words, I recorded them on paper along with their meanings. Then we completed this cute little penguin!

The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever! The loved how it all folded up under his little wing. I even overheard some of them saying, "I can't wait to teach so-and-so when I get home!" (Just what every teacher wants to hear!!!)

Today we worked on facts and opinions. We talked about how facts can be proven and that not everyone has the same opinion (not everyone will agree with you!) We brainstormed facts and opinions about penguins and I recorded their responses on these cute little guys (excuse the handwriting!!).

Then, the kids wrote their own facts and opinions (or, "options," as they kept calling them) about penguins! They were required to do three facts and three opinions, but many students went above and beyond, doing two, three, even four sheets! WOW! And of course they had to make their own little penguin to accompany their awesome writing!

I thought these turned out so CUTE! (And look-he even added the barbed tongue!) I am very proud of their work!

Tomorrow we are going to close our unit by reading The Emperor's Egg and making penguin fact books. We have had a lot of fun this week with this unit :) I can't wait to add new ideas next year! Speaking of....

Last night I thought of an idea that I wish I had thought of earlier!! I want make several penguins that are the actual height of the different species of penguins and then have my kids measure them in inches and centimeters. It will take quite a bit of preparation, but it'd be worth it!

Time to go eat dinner now :) Can't wait to share some Dr. Seuss ideas next week!


  1. Looks great!! I LOVE the cute penguin activities!!

  2. Hey, Lauren, how about giving them the measurements and having them create the penguins to fit...a bit of a challenge, but they can do it!!

  3. Thanks, Suzanne! And Angie, I LOVE that idea! (AND it's less work for me, hehe!)

  4. I want to be in your class!